92-Year-Old World War II Vet Faces Eviction After Offer to Buy Back His Home Rejected

Good Morning America
92-Year-Old World War II Vet Faces Eviction After Offer to Buy Back His Home Rejected

View photo

92-Year-Old World War II Vet Faces Eviction After Offer to Buy Back His Home Rejected (ABC News)

After raising money from Internet donors, a 92-year-old man's attempts to buy back from his daughter the house he built have been rejected as he awaits his eviction hearing next week.

John Potter of Zaleski, Ohio, received an eviction notice from his daughter, Janice Cotrill, and son-in-law earlier this year, saying they had terminated his "existing lease."

Potter and his granddaughter, Jaclyn Fraley, raised $139,603 on the website GoFundMe.com in the hopes of making an offer on the home he built about 56 years ago.

"To me the situation is just so heartbreaking," said Fraley, who believes the judge will have no choice but to evict her grandfather, a World War II veteran. Fraley said she cried when her grandfather's attorney told her the recent offer for the home was rejected.

Potter said he's fought some battles and won some, and this is not one he expected to lose. But he said, "We are going to walk away with our heads held high."

An eviction hearing is scheduled for June 26 at the Vinton County Courthouse after it was originally set for June 12.

"He knows that we tried everything," said Fraley, 35.

Potter had a market appraisal conducted on the home which showed that its value was $47,000 plus a tract of land worth $2,830, together which was much lower than the value he and his granddaughter had expected.

They made an offer to Cottrill through their attorney for the market value of the home and received a counter-offer that was about $85,000 plus about $4,000 and $11,500 for the eviction process and attorney fees.

Potter said he is reluctant to offer more than what the market appraisal for the home indicated.

After discussing with his granddaughter and attorney, Potter made a second offer of $60,005.23 on June 13, but Cottrill, they said, declined that as well without a counter-offer.

In a document shown to ABC News, a rejection letter from the attorney of Cottrill and her husband, dated June 14 states, "They find the offer unacceptable and decline the same."

Cottrill declined to comment to ABC News.

The story goes back to 2004, when Potter and his wife, who has since died, gave the general power of attorney to his daughter for future matters if they declined in health, including to take care of her autistic adult brother, now 64. His daughter Janice Cottrill eventually used that power to allegedly convey the deed to the one-story home to herself, Fraley said. In 2010, Potter said he learned of the deed transfer and switched power of attorney to his granddaughter, Fraley.

A second action is pending in probate court over what kind of contact Potter can have with his son, who is living with Cottrill. Her husband is the guardian of her brother. On a temporary order issued about six months ago, Potter has visitation rights to see his son.

Tim Gleeson, Potter's attorney, said, "We think it makes a lot of sense to try to resolve both cases."

Gleeson said the independent market appraisal is derived from recent sales of similar homes in the area. Gleeson said if Cottrill or her attorney had an issue with the appraisal, they might be open to Cottrill conducting another one. But without a counter-offer from the other party, Gleeson said the next alternative is to look for other housing for Potter.

"It's just one of the saddest cases I've been involved in," said Gleeson. "Mr. Potter is a delightful gentleman and his granddaughter is so loving. I'm discouraged that it may not end in a good result. But we'll keep trying."

Fraley said she has considered alternative housing options for her grandfather, including building an addition to his caretaker's home, or buying a new home. She said the money raised by GoFundMe.com has stayed untouched and she says she is willing to be completely transparent with how the money is used by her grandfather.

Potter, who mostly relies on his pension for income, is not paying rent to his daughter

"Everyone who sent us money said they didn't want to give a dime of to [Cottrill]. People told my grandfather to take the money and buy a different house," Fraley said.

Fraley, who said she moved from San Diego for a nursing job in Columbus, Ohio, to be closer to her grandfather, said it is not possible for her to move to rural Zaleski due to her commute, which is about an hour and a half south of Columbus.

Potter wants to stay near his friends and his son, so Fraley said she would hope for him to stay in the same community. But she is concerned about the impact that a move will have on her grandfather, who turned 92 on May 23.

"For me, the hardest part in all this is what it's going to do to him: taking a 92-year old man and forcing him to leave his home. I was trying to keep it so he could have a calm, quiet end of life. His health is weaker," she said. "Right now I don't think he truly believes this is happening, because he never thought this would happen."

View Comments (7727)

Recommended for You

  • Fatalities, Significant Damage After Strong Quake in Central Italy

    A magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck central Italy early Wednesday, with reports of fatalities and significant damage surfacing quickly in its aftermath. Officials say the towns of Accumoli and Amatrice appear to be the hardest hit by the quake, which struck at 3:36 a.m. local time as most residents…

    Good Morning America19 mins ago
  • 1,500 American 'Floaters' Rescued After Accidentally Drifting Into Canada

    “A burst of rain and high winds prompted hundreds of event participants to seek shelter ashore in Sarnia, where they were assisted by Canada Border Services Agency, Sarnia Police and the Canadian Red Cross,” Carol Launderville, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Coast Guard, told ABC News in an emailed…

    Good Morning America33 mins ago
  • Pope Expresses 'Heartfelt Sorrow' For Italy Quake Victims

    Pope Francis replaced his weekly catechesis in St. Peter's Square with a heartfelt address on the unfolding tragedy after a severe earthquake struck central Italy early Wednesday. "Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists, and learning there are children among the dead, I…

    Good Morning America35 mins ago
  • Donald Trump Says He Would Meet With Mexico's President

    Donald Trump has said that he would meet with the president of Mexico. During a town hall tonight with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, the Republican nominee was asked about recent reports of the Mexican president saying he would meet with the next president of the United States regardless of who it is. …

    Good Morning America
  • Feds Investigate Hack of The New York Times, Suspect Russian Operatives Are to Blame

    Federal authorities are investigating a series of cyberattacks on The New York Times and other U.S. media organizations, and they believe those web-based assaults were "probably" carried out by the same Russian hackers who recently infiltrated Democratic organizations, a source familiar with the…

    Good Morning America
  • Rare 'Yellow' Lobster Spared From Dinner Table at NYC Restaurant

    A New York City restaurant has "pardoned" a special "yellow" crustacean after discovering that the little lobster was a one in 30 million find. Costello added of Ruby's unusual pigmentation: "She is like a ruby-red color. After poking around online, Costello said they discovered that Ruby was…

    Good Morning America
  • Pence Stops for Haircut From Barber Who Doesn't Recognize Him

    In front of a crowd of reporters, Pence received a trim from owner Henry Jones, who's been cutting hair for over 40 years. "And your name was?" asked Jones of Pence upon wrapping up the cut. After Pence formally introduced himself as the governor of Indiana and Donald Trump's running mate, Jones…

    Good Morning America
  • Donald Trump Suggests 'Softening' of Immigration Policies Possible

    Donald Trump indicated there could be a "softening" of his controversial immigration policies during a Fox News town hall moderated by Sean Hannity that taped earlier tonight. When asked by Hannity if there was "any part of the law" he would change to accommodate law-abiding immigrants who have…

    Good Morning America
  • 5-Year-Old Girl in Texas Gets 3D Printed Prosthetic Arm From Her Local Library

    A 5-year-old girl in Texas who was born without the lower part of her left arm received a custom 3-D printed prosthetic from a local public library. "She is a very happy child, but let's just say she has never smiled so big in her life," Kimberly Vincik said of her daughter Katelyn. Vincik told…

    Good Morning America
  • Teen Accused of Rape Gets Probation; Survivor's Group Says Judge's Ruling May Deter Other Victims

    An 18-year-old accused of sexually assaulting two high school classmates is facing two years of probation despite the district attorney's office's recommendation of two years in prison. David Becker, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent…

    Good Morning America
  • Man's LEGO Movie Marriage Proposal Will Leave You in (Plastic) Pieces

    This adorable LEGO proposal will leave you in (little bitty plastic) pieces. When Ben Anderson, of Worcester, United Kingdom, decided it was time to propose to his then-girlfriend, Kirsten Dally, he contacted filmmaker Morgan Spence to help him turn the momentous occasion into a truly romantic yet…

    Good Morning America
  • President Obama Pledges to Rebuild Louisiana After Surveying Flood Damage

    "Sometimes when these kinds of things happen, it can seem too much to bear, but what I want the people of Louisiana to know is that you're not alone on this," he said. The president praised the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its efforts coordinating a federal response, which he said has…

    Good Morning America
  • Same-Sex Couple 'Thrilled' to Welcome Rare Triplets Via Surrogate

    In a rare occurrence, a South African same-sex couple has welcomed triplets, which include identical twins, via surrogacy. The couple, Christo and Theo Menelaou, both share biological fatherhood to the babies, since sperm was used from both parents, they said. "It's the biggest joy having [these]…

    Good Morning America
  • Lawsuit Alleges Zara Deceived Customers, Charged More than Prices Listed in Euros

    The suit, brought by Los Angeles resident Devin Rose, makes two distinct allegations against the company. First, the suit alleges that Zara is confusing customers by tagging their clothing with prices quoted in euros.

    Good Morning America
  • Scott Eastwood Opens Up About Former Girlfriend's Death

    During an interview for GQ Australian, "Suicide Squad" star Scott Eastwood opened up about an absolutely terrible tragedy he had to endure a few years back.When asked about the last time he cried, the actor, 30, said, "I dated a girl a couple of years ago who died in a car accident.”Read: Scott…

    Good Morning America
  • Traffic Deaths Continue to Rise in First Half of 2016

    The upward trend of motor vehicle deaths that began in late 2014 has continued to surge through the first half of 2016, according to preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council. “Our complacency is killing us,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

    Good Morning America
  • Jennifer Lawrence Tops Forbes' List of Highest Paid Actresses

    With the wildly popular "Hunger Games" franchise and a reportedly generous advance for her role in the upcoming film "Passengers," Jennifer Lawrence has earned herself the title of the world's highest paid actress. Melissa McCarthy came in second with $33 million -- $13 million less than Lawrence.…

    Good Morning America